KAPALUA, HAWAII (AP) - As expected, Monday at the PGA Tour’s season opener figures to be filled with anticipation at the Tournament of Champions.
Not because of who might win, but whether they might actually start this tournament.
Already, a few historical notes are worthy of research. This is believed to be the first PGA Tour event to start on a Monday. Rickie Fowler is certainly the first player given the honors of hitting the first tee shot of a new season _ three times.
“Sweet,” Fowler said before leaving Kapalua for the day.
The opening round was wiped from the books for the second time on Sunday when gusts that reached 48 mph came roaring down the Plantation Course and turned this winners-only tournament into goofy ball. Ben Curtis had birdie putts on his first two holes. He made a double bogey and a triple bogey. Matt Kuchar’s ball was blown off the tee before he could hit his opening tee shot.
“You hope for the best, and it just didn’t happen,” said Slugger White, the tour’s vice president of rules and competition, when he delivered the grim news to players who have spent more time waiting than actually playing at Kapalua this week.
The plan was to play 36 holes on Monday, and then return Tuesday for 18 holes to make it an official event.
By now, it’s officially a weird tournament.
“I think everyone wants to play,” Bill Haas said. “But I think everybody wants it to be the person that plays the best who wins. On the 10th hole, somebody might hit a putt … a foot from the hole, and that same, exact putt 10 minutes later might blow off the green 30 yards and make triple (bogey). And I just don’t know if that’s identifying the best player.”
Here’s how the 2013 season has unfolded to this point.
_Fowler smashed a driver 360 yards on Friday to start the season. He made it through eight holes before play was stopped because of 40 mph gusts, not long after Carl Pettersson hit a good lag that rolled another 30 feet by the pin and off the green. Webb Simpson was 3 under through seven holes when his score was wiped clean. Scott Stallings was 7 over through four holes and thrilled with the decision.
_The idea of a 36-hole Saturday never materialized. There were three one-hour delays before officials realized the wind was getting worse, and the round was postponed without anyone hitting a shot, except on the practice range.
_The plan for a 36-hole Sunday turned into an 18-hole Sunday when the wind did not relent, and when players teed off, trouble was brewing. Kuchar’s ball wouldn’t stay on the tee. It took him seven minutes before he made contact, which was about how long _ slight exaggeration _ it took Ian Poulter to take a stab at his 10-foot birdie on the 11th. Fowler hit a thin 3-wood that never got more than shoulder-high and barely reached the first fairway. The round was wiped clean after about an hour.
Where does that leave the Tournament of Champions? Right where it started, even though it hasn’t started.
Jason Dufner was 1 under through five holes, though he was on the front nine, which is far easier in this wind. Curtis was 5 over through two holes, and no one was happier than him to see the round scrapped. As for the Tuesday finish? Curtis is the last PGA Tour player to win on a Tuesday, at the Booz Allen Classic in 2006.